Can the UK Apostille be issued to Foreign Language Documents?

The Hague Convention is a treaty that was signed in 1899 which enhances legal procedures and establishes the International Bureau for the Authentication of Public and Official Documents. One of the benefits to signing it was to provide countries with an exchange of information and a guarantee of authenticity. If a country has apostilled a document, then what this means is that the issuing authority has authenticated the document.


The Hague Convention, specifically relating to the “Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, the Apostille Convention, or the Apostille Treaty”, is an international treaty drafted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law.


It sets out the acceptable procedures through which a document issued in one signatory country, can be certified for legal purposes in all the other signatory states or countries. A certification under the terms of the convention is called an apostille (from Latin: post illa and then French: a marginal note) or Hague apostille.


When an apostille is issued, this means that the existence and correct registration of the government official, issuing authority and/or UK registered/practicing solicitor or Notary Public was correct at the time of the document’s issuance or certification by such persons, in the country it was issued. This individual document can then be recognised in another country, as the issuing country has ensured that the document was issued or certified by the relevant body.


It is often asked if it is possible to apply an UK apostille to a document that was not issued in the UK, or presented in English.


There are a couple of simple answers to this question, but it’s always worth getting in touch about your document as most need to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.


Strictly speaking, a document should be apostilled in the state or country it was issued in. However, if you whoever you are presenting the document to is happy to receive a UK apostille on a document that was not issued in the UK, this can be done for many documents, such as Significant Event Certificates (Birth, Marriage, Death), Passports, Driving Licences and some other documents.


You will need to supply the original documents and be aware that the apostille can ONLY be made on a photocopy and not the original. If we were to present the original for apostille, it will be refused as the registrar or authority cannot be verified in this country, given that the original was issued in another country. If a photocopy is made, then the issuance of the apostille in this country, is only based on the correct registration of the solicitor certifying the document as a true copy. It does not, in any way, confirm or validate if the document is genuine or not.


Powers of Attorney or any legal agreements can be apostilled, again, so long as the recipient party is aware of the fact that no confirmation or validity of the document is occurring, simply that the solicitor certifying the document is registered correctly in the UK.


Foreign documents that absolutely cannot be apostilled are most educational documents. This is because as well as checking the validity of the certifying solicitor’s registration, the accreditation of the original issuing establishment is also checked and verified.


The Apostilles Group can typically arrange the apostille within 5-7 days, including solicitor certification. If you need a translation, that can be arranged quickly too. Contact us today to find out more.



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